Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beginnings of another Dogwood Quilt

First off, I have to say to anyone who is like I was, afraid to link up with other blog parties, just do it!  You meet so many wonderful people, and those connections are what fuels our passion, and feeds my soul.  Maybe if we could get our politicians to A) quilt, and B) blog about it and C) have linky parties, we'd not have yet another very upsetting situation with Ukraine.  But I digress.

I also wanted to give a nod to my darling Avanté.  She sat for 4.5 months in our basement, freezing her butt off in the record-setting cold and snow-filled winter of Essex County/Detroit area, and when I loaded the Dogwood quilt, threaded the Isacord thread, put in a pre-wound bobbin of The Bottom Line, and did not even oil her, just checked tension, she sewed like a dream.  Unreal.  I must write a note to Handi Quilter and tell them!

I have a new machine in my basement:
My daughters and my husband always name their cars.  I'm not into that; I name my quilts.  However, I've named this oil-filled heater Kenny.  He radiates quite a cozy supply of heat, and the wheels allow me to place him right next to me, whether I'm sewing or cutting.  I picked him up Monday morning at a Cash Converters store (aka pawn shop - my first time ever inside one, egad) for $20, with a $5 6-month warranty added on!  Pretty good.  He was FILTHY, most likely came from a smokers' home because he was so yellow and dusty and dirty.  I spent over an hour on Monday washing him, Lysol-wiping him, and he's come out looking brand new.  Everything to help take the chill out of the basement.  Oh for my in-floor heat like I had in my sewing room in Alberta....

I'm onto another of Cynthia's scrap quilts.  This one is #4.  I guess that's the beauty of hopping on the quilt along late:  I don't have to do the quilts in order!  I love the colours in the dogwood quilt #1, but it ended up going too purple.  Maybe should have called it Dreaming of Wisteria, as I did see some of that along the way too.  Too late now.  So this one is going to be pink and green and white, and we'll see how she turns out.
LOOOVE this fabric
I've never cut into it, and I'm sure it's 7 years old, maybe more.  I had kaleidoscopes in mind when I bought it.  Think it's RJR from what I can see on the selvedge.

Ironed, and ready to slice into.  I took this to show you the organized chaos of my cutting/pressing table last night.  Clockwise from the top left you see:  candles burning for scent but also for heat, lol; Caesar salad and wine (THAT close to fabric?? I took my chances, as I only got home from yoga at 7, took Rocco for his 15-minute after-supper walk, and decided to eat and work); nail polish to remind me each day to put on another coat of Duri, which works SO well; a small pile of 2 1/2" squares for who knows what, but I'm trying to organize as well as make a serious dent in my scraps; growing pile of pink squares for the current quilt, stacked in sets of 13, so I'll need 5 piles to equal 65 squares; fabric ready to be cut; a few green squares started; a growing pile of strips for another scrap quilt of Cynthia's; and finished rolled up scraps left!  I found a often had a couple inches left on the side of a scrap piece, so I started cutting them off into 11" long strips with another scrap quilt in mind.

130  - 4 1/2" squares done!

It took me 2 hours to cut all the green ones.  That's crazy.  Oh well.  I was getting that high that I get when playing with fabric.  A dizzy and bubbling-up excited feeling.  I feel like I'm painting with fabric.  I love putting the different shades of the same colour together, looking at the way the values play across a quilt top.  Yes, I have a plethora of scrap and pieces of fabric in 1/4 or 1/3 or 1/2 yard cuts, but it's my palette, and I won't apologize.  Moreover, it does help to insulate the house, snort.

And I have had two brainwaves, one of which I acted upon, for yet another scrap quilt, this one of my own design.  Here it is in the baby stages.
It will have red and blue blocks in it yet.  Who knows, maybe I'll write it up as my very own quilt along!  And my other brainwave was for another woven quilt, this one in scraps of oranges and greens, with a special person in mind.  'nuff said for now.

Morning walk time, and then basement corner time!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tribute to Flowering Dogwood - Finished!

Woot!  Woot!  I started cutting the purples for this quilt last Sunday, 8 days ago, and today it is done!!  If I hadn't spent an hour last night trying to figure (with no success, I might add) how to NOT be a "no-reply blogger", it most likely would have been done last night.

Sidenote on the "no-reply blogger" issue, it happened when I switched my profile from Blogger to Google+.  I'm NOT a happy camper, but hope to resolve it some way or another within the next day or two.  Thank you SO MUCH to Karen of for helping me out.  If you have switched your profile to Google+, then beware that you may have inadvertently become a "lurker" on blogs where you leave a comment.  Google+ shows your comment posts as no-reply.  MOST annoying, and at present, not fixable.

Here it is yesterday before applying the binding.  I wanted to get an outside picture in the daylight that was left!

On a chair, Lake Erie in the background.  Still not much green happening here other than the luscious lawns. . . where is global warming when you need it?!

And if you thought, 'Hmm, is that writing on the bottom border?' you were right!  This happened for two reasons:  1) my menopausal brain took a hike AGAIN, and I could not for the life of me recall what I did in the top border.  I did not relish the thought of unrolling the entire quilt off the roller (I did this on my longarm), so while contemplating what to do, and investigating some of Leah Day's designs, I realized (reason #2 for the design choice) I really wanted to keep it simple.  I suddenly had an epiphany and thought to simply write on it.  It says, "flowering dogwood . . . pink . . . white"  twice across the bottom.  I really like how it turned out.

I might go back and add a French knot over the i of flowering and pink.

So, the wavy design is Cynthia's, of Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework, and, as she says, easy peasy, and a grrrreat way to ease back into the feel of the longarm after 4 1/2 months' absence.

I did two bars of the wavy design, and on the third bar a loopy flower design I have used over and over again, that I originally saw on a quilt many years ago in American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  The flower was a nod to the dogwood flowers.  Nine bars of colour lent themselves well to this repeat!  In the sashings I did a simple leaf and loopy line on some and straight-line quilting on others.  The straight lines through the grey represent the straight and dotted lines of the interstates.  This winter I bought a new blue ruler recommended by Angela Walters when I asked her what she was using in her Craftsy class "Dot to Dot Quilting."  I decided to give it a try with my new extended base I'd also bought. . . let's just say I had some serious issues with slippage.  I ended up just eyeballing the lines using the hopping foot as my guide, and I had much better success in general, except for when I'd get near the end, and the tension clips got in the way of that new extended base. . . grrrr.  Ah well, it's not going to be entered into any contests, that's for sure, although I had thought I would put it up for sale.  Since it's a first quilt-along, I might as well have a first quilt for sale.  We'll see.

A glimpse of the back.  I had it in my stash from eons ago, like a lot of the fabric in the top!  As for the binding, it, too is from forever ago.  It looks like a rock path, very à propos because of the theme of this quilt.  It reminds me of the asphalt roads, as well as the rock of the Appalachian mountains through which we travelled, where I was in awe of all the dogwood growing wild everywhere, and what started this quilt idea in the first place.  I hand-stitched the binding down on the back, as I prefer that look, and by the time I pin like a demon, and then go back and re-sew all the half-inch or so spots I miss, I could basically have it hand-sewn down!

Label, sewn as a piece of the backing as I usually do

Here are a last couple, now that it's out of the dryer and all soft and crinkly.  Sorry that the first one is indoor lighting.  With today's gale from the Wicked Witch of the East, it would be blown into Lake Erie in a flash!

Rolled up!

And one last one!  I loved making this quilt, and feel an Ode coming on to the pink and white magnolias which are bravely bursting out in frothy blooms despite the colder than average days!

Quilt Details:
Name:  Tribute to Flowering Dogwood
Size:  51 X 57.5"
Pattern:  Scrap Quilt #1 from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework's Scrap-a-Palooza
Materials:  100% cotton fabrics entirely from my stash; quilted with grey Isacord 40 wt in 0112 Leadville (my Avanté loved it, as did I)
Free-motion quilted on my Avanté longarm

Linking up with Marelize of Stitch by Stitch "Anything Goes Mondays".
Update May 2:  I linked this post to Laura of Quokka Quilts "TGIFF".  "Thank Goodness It's Finished Fridays!"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Ode" top is Done!

Finished the top.  Had high hopes of getting it onto my Avanté today, but I whiled away some of the afternoon, catching up on email, thank yous, updates, etc.

So, here it is!

And I just love it!  I thought the pale grey might be a little flat, but I think it's just fine.  Sorry for the crinkly flannel design wall, but for now my gridded flannel is pinned into the studs of the basement, not very can see it's slipping a bit, so I stuck some stickpins in to try to level out the grid lines.  I got this hmm, about 10 years ago from Hancock's Fabrics.  Worth every penny.  And the stupid duty they dinged me.

Here's where I left it about this time last night:

I had exactly 30" of the pale floral grey.  I guess they'd call it low volume grey now.  So I made my sashings 2", and my top and bottom borders 3 1/4".  It JUST fit.  I went with 51.5" wide bars so the quilt will finish at exactly 51"  I only had to add a bit onto the very bottom row; the others I had to trim off just a little.

I cut and sewed all ten sashing strips into one long strip last night, pressed it, and then after walking Rocco this morning, started cutting them to 51.5".   I also trimmed each bar to 51.5".  I sewed a sashing to the bottom of each row except the last, and then piece two rows together, so I could chain sew the entire top without cutting my thread, love that.

You can see how small the pieces were that I had to trim off just above the green row.  Ahem, you can also see a hot water bottle.  Yeah, it's rather chilly in our basement after we come back from Florida when we've left our main floor thermostat at 55F for 4.5 months.  Now, if the sun is out, the furnace doesn't run too much, so the basement remains cold!  So, I wear two layers of yoga pants, 3 layers on my torso, and I even was sitting on a hot water bottle alternating having the iron on, with my little space heater.  If I have both on, I blow a fuse!  It's all good; think I'm picking up a better heater for my corner of the basement (it's all unfinished right now) tomorrow after my yoga class in Windsor.

Last night I basically swept all the fabric off my cutting table onto the carpet so I could start cutting sashing.  Bella was excited.  This cat just LOVES fresh fabric.

Just look at her big eyes, ready to attack something....

And she did, bulldozing her face into the piles.  Sigh.

Not all of my purples and green were scraps; I had to go into some of my kaleidoscope fabric stash, but that's okay as I have not been kaleidoscoping for some time.  À la Paula Nadelstern.  I NEED to get back at that too.  You can see parts of two kaleidoscopes on my design wall.

So!  It goes onto the Avanté tomorrow!  And I'm pretty sure I have the perfect backing!  I am so happy to use up some of this fabric and make something so pretty!  Thank you so much to Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework (oh it SO is) for coming up with such a cool scrap quilt.  I really felt like I was painting with my fabric, a feeling I get when doing scrappy quilts.  I just love getting that feeling, playing with colour, and I just love scrappy quilts!  I plan to hop on board with the others she's done, and doing, and is going to do this year!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ode to Flowering Dogwood

Cynthia says to name my Scrap-a-Palooza quilt, just to give it parameters, so that is what I've done, not sure if I'll keep that name, or maybe change the "ode" to "tribute" hmmm.

I'm LOVING it!  And I want to make another already, in pinks and greens!  Oooh, and maybe run them ALL together, rather than colour-specific rows.

Here are my green piles:

I put them on top of the purple piles just to get a feel for how they go together, and I think pretty fantastic, n'est-ce pas?

Before I show you my design wall, however, I just have to add this little kiss from Serendipity (again!)  It never ceases to amaze me how things, people, places, events, so frequently line up from The Universe.

Now that I have finally had success in adding the blogs I follow to my sidebar, you will notice that I follow Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.  Hers was one of the first blogs I started following when I discovered the world of blogs about a year ago.  I first bought her book 3 years ago and love it.  Anyhow, on the day after I wrote my Colour! post, I received this quote from her (I've included just part of it, and the italics and underline are mine)":

Desire and curiosity are the two eyes through which he sees the world in the most enchanted colours…and the man may squander his estate and come to beggary, but if he keeps these two amulets he is still rich in the possibilities of pleasure." --Robert Louis Stevenson

I thought that was just SO à propos in view of the wonder I felt viewing those spectacular pink and white flowering dogwoods.  Thank you Barbara for telling me what they are!

So back to this quilt!  And yeah, here I go again, off on another tangent, instead of working on my Self Round Robin, or starting to quilt one of the tops I made in Florida, but I DO have a plan, I do!  I'm going to quilt this one probably before my Summer Daze quilt, as I will do a simple all-over meander on both of these quilts to get back in the rhythm of my Avanté.

Here is the design started last night after I got home from my Ashtanga yoga class in Windsor (sniff! I do so miss Liana's pure Ashtanga classes at Rosemary Court).  However, I do so love the atmosphere and teachers in Downtown Yoga in Windsor.  I just so wish they'd do the Primary Series and not go off on tangents.  I might in a little while, ask if they'd consider adding a Mysore class.

A couple of tips for testing the overall look of a quilt that is based so strongly on colour:

1. I simply take off my glasses, since I'm near-sighted, and view the quilt through fuzzy eyes.  If you have 20-20 vision, then squinting might produce the same effect.  Or drink a few glasses of wine, lol.  If there are any huge distractions, I notice it right away.

2.  I step wa-a-a-y back, and take a look, or look at the thumbnail picture view in iPhoto, which is tiny, and gives you that same opportunity to see annoying pops.

3.  View it in dim lighting too, just doing that value check, for annoying or distracting blobs.

However, I DO want some pops; I DO want the eye to jump around, maybe zoom around is a better word, enjoying the pull here or pull over there as it notices differences.

Here it is from first thing this morning when I finished up all 9 rows.

I did the rows really fast, as Cynthia says, "try not to over think it", with very little tweaking.  I haven't done any final tweaking yet, so it might change a little.  There's a bit of a blob of dark in the top row, that's bugging me, as well as a bigger blob of dark in the bottom row on the right side.  For the sashing, I think I'm going to use a pale grey floral I have, or possibly some of the Kona cotton in snow that I bought from Christa Quilts!  I am leaning to the pale grey to symbolize the Interstate.  We'll see what it looks like once I get the rows done.

My blocks worked out nicely at 5" height with varying widths from 3 to 4.5".

Spring is finally arriving here in Kingsville, albeit later than usual.  Here is a gorgeous bush I snapped yesterday, whose flowers remind of the lily pad flowers in Florida.  Again, I don't know what it is, maybe a small magnolia??  I did see a huge tree magnolia starting to erupt in frothy flowers this morning on my way back from my mammogram.  Sorry I just had my iPhone for this pic.

And, Happy St. George's Day!  He's the patron saint of England.  Hope you are all wearing red in his honour.  Oops, I'm not; I wore pink and white in homage to the breast, since I was getting a mammogram!  And, because of my English teacher roots, Happy Shakespeare's birthday today, too!  Yay for the written word, be it sonnets, plays, short stories, or novels, etc.!

Update: Thanks to Cynthia's suggestion of adding a "follow me on bloglovin'" button, I not only was able to add that through the bloglovin' site, but also to add her Scrap-a-Palooza button through them too!  Yippee!  

I've also decided to link up this scrap quilt post with Lee at Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My First Quilt Along!

And it's Cynthia's Scrap-a-palooza on Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.


Yesterday's Colour! post was my 100th post!!  I only realized that when I opened Blogger this evening!  I'm pretty proud of that.  I'm also all "pshaw" but "chuffed" as my mum would say (Lancashire dialect, I'm sure) that I've had comments from a REAL blogger who's movin' on up in the quilting world, Christa, of Christa Quilts!,  as well as had Cynthia add me to her Google+, a comment from Jules in the UK, Barbara in Georgia (so happy she told me what all the gorgeous colours were: dogwood), Janette in New York, and 100 comments from my dear sweet sister, Linda.  And lest we not forget, my infamous Guest Post.  My first post was Ta da! back on September 18, 2013.  I just reread it, and I don't feel quite so dumb at still not knowing how to do certain things on Blogger because it took me 15 minutes that day to figure out how to upload a picture!

I've learned how to add Labels.

I've finally got the "Blogs I Follow" to allow me to post the URLs of those I follow (have to add them one by one, but hopefully Blogger will soon fix that issue).  It was I who raised the frustration on a Blogger forum!  There are several out there having the same problem, so it has led to some interesting discussion.
I still can't figure out how to add symbols like happy faces.  I tried to make (and I think I was successful) a new page, but I can't see it on my blog.  I can't figure out how to have tabs at the top so I could put tutorials under one tab, for example.  I also still can't figure out how to "grab" someone's button to show my participation in a project (like this quiltalong). Grrr. Sigh.  Ha!  There should be a Craftsy class on "how to use Blogger"!

Anyhow, I'm still on the learning curve with this, so please bear with my rather boringly set up blog for a little longer.

Back to tonight's topic, joining a quiltalong.

I just love what Cynthia is doing, and so wanted to hop on board, but my stash and Rubbermaid containers with ziplocs inside, plus my plastic Sterilite drawers all full of scraps were here in Kingsville.  So I'm just now starting Part 1 of her first Scrap Quilt, Horizontal Bar Scrappy Quilt.

Writing the Colour! post where I mused about possible quilts inspired by all the colour I saw on our trip home sent me downstairs last night where I pulled out my ziploc of purple, and opened my one drawer of purple (hmm, don't have a whole lot, comparatively speaking) and tonight even went to my shelf of purple (on a shelf means I've got at least 1/2 yard of the piece of fabric).  I cut a bunch last night,
60 - 5" X varying heights patches

and had planned to finish cutting today.  However, an unplanned couple of hours playing Pickleball this morning (it was a beautiful day), followed by dog walking, lunch outside, phonecalls and computer stuff, a little light reading of a quilt magazine, Yin yoga, both lesson planning and then 2.5 hours to drive there, teach, and drive home, left pretty much zilch of my day for sewing.  Oh well.  There's always tomorrow.

I now need 60 greens.  It was awesome to be in my "studio" within 2 days of arriving home, creating!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Well, sadly, there's not as much of it as usual here in Kingsville, Ontario, due to the worst winter in recorded history in this area.

Green grass, some buds on a few trees, blue, blue Lake Erie.  April 19, 2014
However, I captured quite a show from Mother Nature on our 3-day drive back home.  Inspired by the array of colours, I often see quilts in my mind when I'm outside.
Azaleas on Tybee Island
Quilt idea: grey and white with hits of fucshia and sprinkles of lime green, yum!  A chocolate brown sashing and/or border!

I said last year, and it was the same wee-ooh, wee-ooh experience this year, that it is like we are going back in time as we head north.  We leave summer heat in Florida to see full-on spring mid-way through the trip, to end in early spring here.

On Tybee Island, we opted for a quick walk/run down to the beach for a pic or two, rather than a beach walk with the dogs, as it was FREEZING (left 90s the day before to see only 60s in Savannah) and blowing a gale off the Atlantic Ocean. 
Tybee Beach, GA
Quilt idea: Can't you see a sand and blue quilt?  Maybe 1/2 square triangles (they are on my mind after this trip) with maybe a hit of yellow for the sun and deep teal-almost-black for a dark?  And sidenote:  I WANTED that piece of driftwood!!  It was bigger than me, however, so....not gonna happen.

I need to know what these trees were all through Georgia, the Carolinas Virginia, West Virginia and a few in Ohio. 
Some of those trees seemed planted, but so many were just random in the bush, clearly wild.  I know cherry trees are out in Washington, DC, and I know many berry trees as well as apple have quite the show, but these intense purples you see below were jaw-dropping stunning.

Even at 70 mph (110kph) through a dirty windshield, these knocked my socks off.  South Carolina.

Just outside Winston-Salem, NC

Quilt idea:  I can SO see a fresh leaf-green and wisteria purple quilt, 1/2 square triangles, maybe with some white in it.  Ooh, even a scrappy quilt like Cynthia's from her April 18, 2014 post!!
Stunning, no?  This is just south of the Virginia state line.
I hope you get how random and wild they are.  And how much more joyful as a result, at least in my mind.
These are in West Virginia
I had to end this post with such a cool picture, not to mention experience:  driving through a mountain!  It zoomed me back in time to 10 years old, when my dad drove us out to Vancouver, and we went through several tunnels in the Rockies.  Here is a link to this amazing feat of engineering that took 5 years to build.  Great choice of name.  Just sayin'.

How I do love the Appalachian Mountains.  One of these trips, we plan to follow some of highways through them, as opposed to the Interstates.  We did go off the Interstate in Ohio, and both of us just loved it.  It reminded me of Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent.  While finding a link for his website, I discovered that HE walked in the Appalachians, so I will have to read that book, A Walk in the Woods.

Speaking of reading, it's time to read and have my tea.  Outside!  In the sun!  On our patio!  It's 60 (15C) here right now, yahoo!  I never did finish Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, which is really really good, and is all about Savannah.  Then it's downstairs to my quilting corner.  :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guest Post!!

Warning:  bad language in this post.

I’ve tried to convince my husband that he should have his own blog.  He has got such dry wit, he is very well-informed (from non-mainstream news sources), and consequently has rather unorthodox but valid, as well as very strong opinions.  It would give him a place to vent, to express his views, and perhaps wake some more of the populace up from the zombie-like state in which the government likes to keep them.  Today, as we make our way back north to Kingsville, I am writing a guest post on his behalf.  So he is dictating and driving!

The boat launch is a place where my husband says he sees how stupid humans can be.  It’s the most entertaining place on the planet for him, more so than any TV show he has seen.  Equally rich in stupid are airports.

On our many trips back and forth between Florida and Alberta from 2004-2012, when we were still living and working there, we saw prime examples of stupidity, lack of common sense, and disregard for others.

So it was, that in our frustration and irritation as to how people could act this way, on one trip home, we invented our own airline.

We named it COB Air.

COB : Crusty Old Bastard Airlines

Why Crusty Old Bastard?  He was tagged with this at one of the shops where he worked.  Self-explanatory.

COB Air Motto:  “Sit down, stay in your seat, and shut the fuck up.”

1.     Our security prior to boarding is our Rottweiler.  “If she don’t like you, you ain’t gettin’ on.” (sic)

2.     If you get up before your section is called, you ain’t gettin’ on.  No hovering around the check-in desk at the gate or you ain’t gettin’ on.

3.     If you don’t respect others’ personal space bubbles while waiting in line, you ain’t gettin’ on.

4.     Our flight attendants are retired ex-New York City cops, armed with billy clubs.  For those that are of the opinion that they are above the rules, they will find said billy clubs used.

5.     On COB Air, no kids are allowed under the age of 25 unless the parents are okay to put them in dog crates in the cargo hold.

6.     Dogs, on the other hand, 40 pounds and over, are welcome.  Pit bulls will ride in first class at no extra charge.

7.     Passengers will remain seated for the duration of the flight. No going to the bathroom 5 seconds after the damn seatbelt sign goes off.

8.     All cell phones are confiscated at the door of the aircraft for those assholes that can’t seem to turn them off.  Music is available by plugging in your earphones on the armrest.

9.     Movies shown are real. No chick flicks.  No reality TV shows.

10.  Beer is complimentary.  Wine is not, but is available. (Clearly I did not make some of these rules!) If you over-indulge, there is a trapdoor at the back of the plane from which you will be ejected.

11.  Carry-on luggage has to fit the criteria, and it WILL be verified for compliance.  If it doesn’t fit the size requirement it ain’t gettin’ on, no exceptions.  The gate attendant is equipped with a tape measure.  No overstuffed rolling suitcases.  No FUCKING backpacks are allowed to be worn.  Carry it; you don’t wear it! 

12.  Military personnel fly half price at all times.

Thank you, and have a safe and SANE flying experience.

Pit Bull Love

Note:  I apologize for the varying fonts in the text of this post.  I wrote the bulk of this on my laptop in the SUV while we travelled, and then copied and pasted it into Blogger.  I cannot seem to format the font to be unified.

August Update:  this is my entry for Pets on Quilts in the Dogs on Quilts category for this year's Pets on Quilts Show at Lily Pad Quilting.

Dayna has long bugged me to write a post about Rocco.

"You can tell me anything; I'm a great listener."
I tell her he figures quite often in my quilt posts and life musings.   
His happy place

Today, however, this is all about him. Well, I'm sure a quilt -- or three -- will show up.
11 weeks old, blue-eyed and chillin' (and posing!) on my "Starry Hearts" quilt
 During the binding stage of "Seaside Rose":
Notice how his hind legs (Pibble style of chill-axin' nicely frame my label?!

Since Rocco found me, I have become quite the Pitbull (aka Pibble) advocate.  Both Joe and I have.  As has Dayna; she even did one of her university speech assignments about Breed Specific Legislation.
Wearing his new hoodie

Even though we paid a fair amount for him, as he is 8th generation purebred American Pit Bull Terrier, we know we rescued him from a not-so-happy life.  At 11 weeks old, he spent the bulk of his day in a crate, although he did sleep with the man of the house each night.  Because they already had two dogs, a cat, a just-moved-back-home daughter with her 1-year-old, something had to go, and it was him.  They didn’t have a name for him, just called him Baby.  Oddly enough, that is what he frequently gets called by strangers:  Baby.  And he is.

What a BABY!!!! On a bed...again...with a quilt...again!  This time Dayna's.

He is low man on the totem pole in our household; even our 6.5 pound cat, Bella, bosses him around. 

The day after we brought Bella home

Yet he is happiest there. Even when sometimes it appears not!
In fact, on walks with John and Brandy, his place of Zen is in the middle of the pack.

Well, here's one time where he took the lead for a few steps!

He loves life.  LOVES.  In fact, his tail wags so hard and furiously at, oh, pretty much everything, that sadly, last May it had to be amputated.  He would smack it against corners, against table legs, table edges, people’s legs, doorjambs, walls, so much so that this caused frequent cuts, abrasions, gouges, all of which took longer and longer to heal, and eventually got infected very badly.  Consequently, our vet advised us to remove it.  It was not an easy time, and I felt so bad for my little guy.

"I'm not ON the chair, really."  You can see his fur shaved off on his tail.
He sings.  I used to call it talking until I read Ken Foster’s book, I'm A Good Dog, where he described a neighbourhood Pibble who would announce his coming by singing his way down the street on walks. Many years ago we had a Samoyed named Rex, who would talk in much the same way, and so, at the hint of a “rrrrooowwwwooo” from Rocco a few years ago, I encouraged it.  And his voice has developed just beautifully.  He sings when people come to the door, he sings for a treat, he sings when people leave, he sings when we arrive home, adding the wiggle-butt and rolling wriggle through the torso that Pibbles are well-known for.

He can be pretty goofy.

He loves blankies.


Wrapped up
Even if the blankie isn't finished being knitted!
He especially loved snoozing on our brand new patio chair cushions!

He puts up with Dayna dressing him up.

He loves cats.
Even though most cats do not reciprocate his love. Here is Muffin, the condo 'hood cat.
He has been through more than his share of hurts.  A porcupine that did not want to be friends beat Rocco up on his first birthday.  He had a few subsequent treatments for embedded or infected quills.  I've mentioned the tail issue.  He got a bad bite in his chest from Naala when he ticked her off one evening.  He just wanted to play, but it was her quiet time.  Do NOT mess around with her then!  He got an infected ear when Naala bit him because he was going crazy in the SUV over a dog walking by.  He had an abscessed tooth that had to be extracted.  He has had to wear the cone of shame on more than one occasion.

The dogs travel SO well, never complaining, happy to be wherever we are. They have covered thousands of miles in our vehicles: between Alberta and Ontario 3 times, and between Ontario and Florida four times!

Moving Dayna to Windsor, Ontario in 2010.  He was 9 months old.
Because we were on the road the last two nights, he slept with me in one bed, Naala with Joe in the other.  When we travel, we find this works best for the dogs: they feel more secure, so they tend to relax better and not woof at every little noise or bump.  Both nights he had to touch me the whole night, whether it was his muzzle to my face, his back pressed up against mine (his favourite) or his head resting on my feet or shins.
On the couch this past January

It is so wonderful to call up Bayside Pet Resort where Rocco goes to daycare and have the girls excited on the phone when they know Rocco is coming in.  He arrives and puts his paws up on their counter, singing his presence. Last time he tried to jump his whole body onto the counter, succeeding in a good thud to his barrel of a chest.  He wasn’t fazed.  The pet pals love him there, and he loves them, but most of all he loves all his buds, 20-25 big dogs milling around in the big dog outside play area.

Bandana courtesy of Bayside Pet Resort, after their weekend at the kennel
Sadly, we can’t do that in Ontario.  His breed is banned.  He was grandfathered in because of us being homeowners there, and because our little town, Kingsville, has an open-minded town office.  Our neighbours all love Rocco.  His happy, friendly, docile nature, in our Alberta kennel owner/friend’s words, “makes him an ambassador for his breed.”

Two perfect Pibbles, Rocco and Brandy

One of our Florida neighbours got a Shih Tzu puppy earlier this winter.  Rocco let that puppy jump on his head.  Stand on his little hind legs and sniff Rocco’s face and ears. 

Rocco did the usual dog greeting: sniffed the puppy’s parts, and then stood still so the puppy could sniff his.  The owner, as well as another neighbour commented that they couldn’t believe the pup had no fear of a big dog, like Rocco, or like Brandy.  That’s when I thought, it’s because the puppy doesn’t judge.  He sees a dog.  Period. Another potential kindred spirit to meet and to get to know.  He doesn’t label Rocco by breed, but by his personality, his character.  From there, he makes his decision.  

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we humans could follow this puppy’s simple outlook, towards not just all animals, but also all fellow humans?

But no, because some jerks of humans exploit the Pitbull’s love of life and of people (especially of children), his loyalty, his willingness to please, and FORCE them to fight or be killed, this incredibly loving breed has now been very wrongly maligned.  But this post is not a rant about breed specific legislation.

Instead it’s about a funny, loving, lovable, goofy, blue-nose American Pitbull Terrier named Rocco, who has taught us, our family and friends, so much about the wrongful prejudice his breed is subjected to.

Note:  Please tune in to National Geographic Wild at 8 pm tonight, April 18, to watch Cesar Millan’s “Love My Pit Bull” show where John’s daughter, Julie, Chief Development Officer for the Washington DC Humane Society, and her rescued Pit Bull, Porter, are featured!!

Sorry, that show has now aired, since I have been on the road most of the day today, and took extra-long to get lots of good pics in this post tonight!  It should be available on YouTube; in fact, here is a link to a teaser of Porter's TV début.

Here is one last pic of me with my boy, Rocco, in front of a spectacular Sycamore, aka American planetree, in Charleston, West Virginia, yesterday afternoon.